New figures released by the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) show that the number of people drawing the dole last month dropped by 3,000. While that typically would be good news, the emigration factor probably plays a big role in the dip.

The Independent reports on INOU’s findings that the drop in those drawing the dole helped push the unemployment rate down slightly.

January 2012 saw 439,600 people on the seasonally adjusted live register, which is over 3,000 people smaller than that in December 2011 or the same time last year.

Despite the decrease in numbers of those taking the dole, there was an increase in those filing for long-term unemployment. The number of those out of work for at least a year “increased by more than 23,000 to 183,849 -- meaning they now make up over 41 percent of the total,” reports the Central Statistics Office.

Short-term unemployment, however, took a dip. The number of those reporting short-term unemployment fell by over 26,000, with the overall unemployment rate dropping to 14.2 percent from 14.3 percent, the lowest rate since last June.
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More than 10,000 people sign on to the dole every week, but 9,000 also sign off of it. Signing off could come as a result of people finding a job, going back to school, leaving the country or simply not qualifying for it anymore.

The INOU said that while the drop in unemployment would usually be encouraging, they attribute the decrease to people emigrating out of Ireland.

Right now there are currently 439,589 people on the live register, “but this has to be adjusted to reflect the fact that there is always a seasonal dip in the numbers working after Christmas,” writes The Independent.

John Stewart, INOU coordinator, said "Of particular concern is the number of people who have been on the live register for more than a year.”

Over 76,000 people left Ireland last year, more than 40,000 of which were Irish born citizensGoogle Images